Society of St. Vincent de Paul announces national officers


ST. LOUIS — The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has announced four new national officers.

Benjamin Vaissade, a retired retail executive in the San Francisco Bay area, has been named vice president of the national council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. His duties include coordinating the efforts of the organization’s eight regional vice presidents throughout the United States.

He joined the organization in 1992 and has served as Western regional vice president for the past six years.

Margarita Galindo, a retiree of the Sweetwater School District in Chula Vista, Calif., has been named vice president for Hispanic involvement for the organization’s national council. A member since 2004, she is a founding member of the organization’s only Spanish-language chapter in the Diocese of San Diego.

Michael J. Nizankiewicz has been named treasurer of the national council. He is currently serving as the interim CEO of the Vascular Disease Foundation in Denver.

Althea Graham, a customer service representative for AT&T in Detroit, has been named secretary for the national council. A member of the society since 1994, she served as president of the St. Vincent de Paul chapter in her parish before being elected president of the organization’s Detroit West district council for six years.

In 1995, she was key in establishing a partnership between the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and Providence Hospital, a prominent suburban hospital, to found the St. Vincent de Paul Health Center, a free health clinic that provides health care to the uninsured.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a nonprofit Catholic lay organization of approximately 700,000 men and women who join together to grow spiritually and offer person-to-person service to the needy and people living in poverty in 142 countries on five continents. With U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, membership in the United States totals more than 172,000 in 4,600 chapters.

Programs include home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, job training and placement, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, transportation and utility costs, care for the elderly and medicine. Providing more than $595 million in tangible and in-kind services, the Society of St Vincent de Paul serves more than 14 million people in need each year, performs more than 648,000 visits to people in their homes, and delivers more than 7 million service hours to those in need.